As you know, I competed in the Wisconsin Marathon last Saturday. From my previous blog, you probably understand that I have a bit of a personal vendetta against the open marathon. Well....3:01 and a 6:55 pace...I guess you can say I won this round!
The main reason I put my time here is not to brag, but rather...to prove a point that:
"The only limitations you have, are the one's you put on yourself."
For 5 years, I tried to break the 3:10 mark and get my Boston Qualifer. This year they dropped the BQ 5 minutes for everyone...so I needed 3:05. I did the work, I was stubborn about my fitness, and I embraced the pain when it came at mile 22. None of that wass easy, but everyone can achieve a personal best if you are dedicated enough to it! 3:10 was no longer an option...so I had to make sure I didn't limit myself in training and on race day. You are capable of much more than you think if you truly dedicate to it.
2012 Wisconsin Marathon Race Recap:
I had a super busy week leading up to the race at work. Not ideal as you try to limit stress, but you deal with it. I had a nice Itailan meal with my family the night before the race and I felt ready. I got to bed around 10:30pm and had the alarm set for 4:30am. 6 hours is PLENTY of sleep on race night. The "key sleep night" is 2 nights before any competition.
I woke up...made my peanut butter and banana bagel and got ready to race. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the temperature and humidity had dropped overnight and I was going to have an ideal day to race. The biggest issue from mother nature would be the strong 15mph wind off the lake. And it did prove to be challenging!
We drove up to Kenosha with plenty of time to spare. It started pouring! I LOVE running in the rain, but not at the very beginning of a Marathon. Wet shoes and socks equal nasty blisters! Luckily, the rain stopped about 30min prior to the gun going off. We walked down to the start line and took care of our pre-race business. It was COLD.
I was so glad to have Ana, my mom, my nephew Devin, Ryan, Brian, and Janine with me at the start. It helped keep me calm and focused on the task at hand. I lined up with about 10 minutes to go and did some short strides to warm up. The plan was to go out steady and try not to break a 7min mile in the first 6 miles.
The gun sounded and we were off! The challenging part of running a marathon at the same time as the "half marathon" is to not go out too hard. So I settled into a pace that felt almost too easy and hoped for the best by the time I hit mile 1. Time on my watch: 6:55....I went out a little too fast, but nothing to be worried about. Just stay steady...and try not to worry.
Me at mile 1....
The next few miles were pretty uneventful. Charles showed up around mile 4 and I was feeling GREAT. I had been hitting 6:57-7:00 pace for the start and I wasn't even breathing hard. I really felt like this could be my day. I remember telling Charles as he was biking along side me that "Today I become a RUNNER. People wont be able to classify me as just a Triathlete anymore." I remembered that all throughout the race.
Me at mile 4....
As you can tell...I'm hamming it up a bit but having a great time and staying focused! Right after this picuture we turned into the wind and battled it for the next 3 miles or so. Again, stay focused and keep it steady was in my head. I realized that the last 7 miles of the race would be into this stiff wind and it was going to HURT....but for now, don't work too hard.
I got to see my family and friends at mile 11 and I was still feeling amazing! I remembered back to when Charles qualified for Boston and he told me that he didn't even feel like he was running through 10 miles. I felt the exact same way... Today would be my day, but I knew what lie ahead. A very smart, and fast, marathoner once told me:
Run the first 10 miles with your HEAD
Run the next 10 miles with your LEGS
And run the last 10K with your HEART
I was ready...
Through 15 miles I felt unstoppable. The training, the nutrition plan, the race plan...everything was coming together perfectly. At mile 15 I had to start to "work" though. I noticed my breathing getting a little heavy, but I stayed confident. At about this time, I dropped the pace to roughly 6:45 and held this through mile 20. I was a little nervous that this would come back to bite me, but it felt "right." So I went with it. It also helped that the wind was at my back too :)
I saw Charles at mile 21 on his bike and I was working...but I felt amazing for being 21 miles into the run. I was several minutes ahead of my goal pace (7:03) and knew that if I could hold it together, I would be fine. Charles decided to bike up to mile 23 and I would see him there.
Mile 22....and it hit me like CLOCK WORK. I had entered the pain cave. The smile was gone. The chit chat was nowhere to be found. It was nothing but shear determination to make it to the finish line under 3:05. The best part was, I EMBRACED this pain. I knew it was coming. I had visualized what it would be like to try and hold on to the pace when my body was screaming to stop. These last 4 miles are what I trained for...so it was time to kick the open marathon's ASS!
I saw Charles at mile 23 and he biked with me for a little bit. It was a huge help to have him there as I was suffering...but I kept looking down at the mile markers....6:55, 6:52, 6:50....I wasn't slowing down! I was in a world of hurt...but I was hanging on straight into the wind at the END of a marathon.
Charles peeled off with 1 mile to go and I kicked it in....6:45 was my last mile! My slowest of the day had been 7:01....I never went above the goal pace and I'm so proud of that. My fastest mile was 6:43....so you could say that I ran a VERY steady race. I even negative split the marathon...going through the half in 1:32...and running the 2nd half in 1:29. This was truly one of the BEST races I have ever had.
I turned the corner for the finish line and saw 3:01:13 as I crossed the line. I was exhausted and so very proud. I fought hard for this....fought for 5 years for this moment. I didn't let myself put limits on what I could do....and made my goal.
I'm not nieve enough to think that this will happen every time I toe the line, marathon or otherwise. So, I CELEBRATE! These races only come along once in a great while. The simple fact is this isn't basketball...there is no "best of 7 series." If it was, I got swept by the marathon :) You pour your heart and sole into 1 day....and you earn whatever finish you get.
So, enjoy your success when it comes. Otherwise, why do it? Boston, here I come.
Dedication, Passion, Results
Deep in the PAIN CAVE at mile 26.....